Contrary to reports of the band’s demise, the Otsego Jazz Ensemble is very much alive and well and we survived a long hibernation!
Ok, that was more like the “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” from Mark Twain after a long absence overseas. And no, the band didn’t go anywhere.
While the pandemic is certainly not behind the world at large yet, the situation in West Michigan improved enough for the band to finally practice for the first time on May 13, 2021.
Dave Hubbard (2nd alto sax) organized our first gig for July 7, 2021, 7 p.m. at the Plainwell Bandshell. Watch for any additional gigs to be posted at https://oje.nu/events/.
The OJE had plans for 2020 that were rudely interrupted by the pandemic and maybe some over-positive thinking that things would get better during that year. We started out with one cancellation, then two, then three, and on and on. Our calendar history kind of tells the story on that one: https://oje.nu/events/history-of-event-calendar/. There were other events that never even made it to the calendar because of the pandemic.
Wow! Well over a year of hibernation before we finally got together. That’s a long gap, and yet it seems like yesterday a few band members met for the last time at a restaurant, just before the governor’s lock-down. Our last practice before the pandemic was March 5, 2020! Our first practice on May 13 sounded amazingly well when you consider it was over a year since our last playing together.
The band missed out on one of our favorite gigs of the year (for two years), the Hastings Jazz Festival. Their web page at https://thornapplearts.org/jazzfest/ states: “The 18th Annual Jazz Festival will take place in Hastings in late April 2022″.
The OJE will likely be there!!
Here are samples from OJE performances at the 2019 Hastings Jazz Festival:
The band’s latest video on Youtube is a kind of photo and movie montage with live recording samples from 2017 through 2020:
Image credits: bear image from cliparts.co, and instrument product images from these online retailers: Amazon, Konig & Meyer, Monoprice, Donner, Woodbrass, Kraft Music, Fat Llama. Otsego Jazz Ensemble is a not for profit organization. Any proceeds cover band expenses.